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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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Designing, publishing, printing... [part 6]

reference material
Magazine-- Since March 30th, I've been designing a new magazine from concept to thumbnails to full color mock-ups. The first thing I did was found out what competition I had locally. Asheville has a lot of free weekly and monthly magazines which can be found almost anywhere throughout the mountain metropolis. The magazine I'm developing really doesn't have direct competition due to the simple fact that most free mags are on newsprint--the one I'm working on will be a full color glossy targeting the food industry. The magazine's positioning line is “cuisine, entertainment and lifestyle."

The only magazines that present a direct challenge are national; like Bon Appétit and Food & Wine. The niche audience potential provides a unique market that, as of yet, has not been met.

T-26 catalog
Knowing that the target demographics include 20 to 30-somethings I located an old T-26 catalog and searched for the perfect font to capture the publication's title. The goal was to create something elegant, sensual, chic, sophisticated and modern. At first I planned to use a serif body font with bold san serif headlines. However I changed directions quickly as I realized the idea seemed to be elegant and sophisticated but not entirely chic or sexy. Besides, it became too evident that I was directly inspired by STEP's editorial layout design (unfortunately STEP's web site cannot provide a representation of their print version). It's one thing to draw inspiration from a nicely designed source, it's another to mimic good design. A mimic always lives in the shadows of a greater designed publication and will always be viewed as second-rate. That is not how I want this magazine to be perceived.

The other aspect to a serif body font that challenged me was that the pages seemed to take on a conservative, corporate quality that is not what I wanted to communicate. A lot of sans serif fonts are designed for headlines or captions and a readable body font was a challenge to discover. Oh, and I'm not subjecting my readers to Helvetica or Arial; not in print anyway. The T-26 catalog offered a loads of articulate fonts of which I chose two: Aaux Pro and Tempelhof.

Sample page layout featuring fonts Aaux Pro and Tempelhof and photography by Chris Chromey

I'm using Aaux Pro as the main body font for this startup magazine. Neil Summerour created Aaux Pro in 2004. The headline font as well as drop cap and leader copy is Tempelhof, which was designed by Gunter Schwarzmaier in 2003. Like I stated earlier, the target audience is chic, sexy, modern 20 to 30-something adults. So, I chose two fonts created recently that captured the essence of postmodern readers yet still retained a clean, readable text.

Book-- In less than six weeks, with minimal advertising, the book has sold almost 700 copies. The book has been promoted exclusively through one national magazine with small third page and sixth page ads. The only way to get the book, until last week, was to place an order through a 1 800 phone number. It is now available for purchase online. In less than four days online sales exceeded 100 copies sold. I am amazed by the modest success of this project. With a small team (editorial, production, and customer service), a relatively unknown author and little to no budget for promotion and advertising, the book is selling itself. I am humbled and grateful to part of this project.

PART: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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